Ict From Silicon Valley To Al Madinah By Abbas El Gamal, Noor

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Published on November 26, 2008

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Knowledge Forum | http://www.noor.org.sa | Day 3 - Panel 2 - Ict From Silicon Valley To Al Madinah By Abbas El Gamal, Noor

ICT: From Silicon Valley to Al Madina Abbas El Gamal Professor and Director of the Information Systems Laboratory Stanford University Global Knowledge Forum 2008

Outline Elements of Success in ICT How Silicon Valley started From the Lab to the Market: 10 Lesson Learned How some developing countries succeeded in ICT Thoughts on ICT in Al Madina

Elements of Success in ICT

How Silicon Valley started

From the Lab to the Market: 10 Lesson Learned

How some developing countries succeeded in ICT

Thoughts on ICT in Al Madina

How Silicon Valley Started Until the first half of the 20th century, the San Francisco Bay Area was mostly farm land It had little industry of any kind Now, it is Silicon Valley How did this happen?

Until the first half of the 20th century, the San Francisco Bay Area was mostly farm land

It had little industry of any kind

Now, it is Silicon Valley

How did this happen?

Brief History of Silicon Valley Stanford had strong tradition in science, engineering, and business education It attracted talented and hard working students with desire to learn and make a difference In the 1930’s, Fred Terman, an EE Professor, encouraged his students Hewlett and Packard to commercialize their invention (audio oscillator) He personally invested This defined the Silicon Valley culture of innovation, entrepreneurship, and venture financing And, Terman, Hewlett, and Packard became role models for many Stanford faculty, graduates, and entrepreneurs around the world

Stanford had strong tradition in science, engineering, and business education

It attracted talented and hard working students with desire to learn and make a difference

In the 1930’s, Fred Terman, an EE Professor, encouraged his students Hewlett and Packard to commercialize their invention (audio oscillator)

He personally invested

This defined the Silicon Valley culture of innovation, entrepreneurship, and venture financing

And, Terman, Hewlett, and Packard became role models for many Stanford faculty, graduates, and entrepreneurs around the world

How I Got Started: 1978-83 Started out as a pure academic, but assimilated in the Silicon Valley culture Learned about VLSI from Carver Mead of Caltech Met Jim Koford through the ISL Industrial Affiliates Program. He asked me to help their startup, LSI Logic Consulted for LSI for a couple of years and two of my students worked for them full time LSI became the leader in Gate Arrays, wanted to diversify Their CEO Wilf Corrigan asked me to start research lab Lesson 1. One doesn't need to be born an entrepreneur to become one. Entrepreneurship can be developed through the right environment and role models

Started out as a pure academic, but assimilated in the Silicon Valley culture

Learned about VLSI from Carver Mead of Caltech

Met Jim Koford through the ISL Industrial Affiliates Program. He asked me to help their startup, LSI Logic

Consulted for LSI for a couple of years and two of my students worked for them full time

LSI became the leader in Gate Arrays, wanted to diversify

Their CEO Wilf Corrigan asked me to start research lab

Lesson 1. One doesn't need to be born an entrepreneur to become one. Entrepreneurship can be developed through the right environment and role models

LSI Logic Research Lab: 1984-86 Started with 4 Stanford PhDs, grew to 25 technical staff in 2 years The company gave us freedom to select focus areas This made us think in a multi-dimensional way: Understand LSI’s core competencies Understand technology trends Understand market trends Lab evolved into the Consumer product Division with over $1B in revenue Lesson 2. Attracting top talent is key

Started with 4 Stanford PhDs, grew to 25 technical staff in 2 years

The company gave us freedom to select focus areas

This made us think in a multi-dimensional way:

Understand LSI’s core competencies

Understand technology trends

Understand market trends

Lab evolved into the Consumer product Division with over $1B in revenue

Lesson 2. Attracting top talent is key

Actel: 1986-91 Co-founded Actel to exploit anti-fuse technology invented by ex-Intel engineers Co-invented Actel’s FPGA Architecture and managed design system development Actel’s initial products were superior in performance and easier to use than competition Actel went public, but never became market leader Technology lagged Moore’s law Marketing was weak Had management problems Lesson 3. Marketing is as or more important than technology Lesson 4. Creating a cohesive team is essential

Co-founded Actel to exploit anti-fuse technology invented by ex-Intel engineers

Co-invented Actel’s FPGA Architecture and managed design system development

Actel’s initial products were superior in performance and easier to use than competition

Actel went public, but never became market leader

Technology lagged Moore’s law

Marketing was weak

Had management problems

Lesson 3. Marketing is as or more important than technology

Lesson 4. Creating a cohesive team is essential

Silicon Architects: 1991-95 Developed efficient, process portable VLSI libraries and compilation tools Technology enabled decoupling of VLSI design and fabrication We initially didn’t know what the business model should be Pioneered intellectual property model: Fee for design services Royalties on chips Technology adopted by over 30 companies Company acquired by Synopsys, now leader in IP Lesson 5. Innovation in business model can be more important than in technology

Developed efficient, process portable VLSI libraries and compilation tools

Technology enabled decoupling of VLSI design and fabrication

We initially didn’t know what the business model should be

Pioneered intellectual property model:

Fee for design services

Royalties on chips

Technology adopted by over 30 companies

Company acquired by Synopsys, now leader in IP

Lesson 5. Innovation in business model can be more important than in technology

CMOS Image Sensors: 1992--Present My PhD student Boyd Fowler wanted to do research on analog artificial retina (a la Carver Mead) We ended up inventing a new type of image sensor (Digital Pixel Sensor) instead We initially didn’t know anything about image sensors (digital cameras didn’t exist) Had to rediscover many things Didn’t know what DPS is good for Industry became interested in image sensors Formed Programmable Digital Camera project with significant industry funding Found important application of DPS: High dynamic range imaging Lesson 6. You cannot always plan research. It is difficult to predict next innovation Lesson 7. University-industry collaboration is key element of successful applied research

My PhD student Boyd Fowler wanted to do research on analog artificial retina (a la Carver Mead)

We ended up inventing a new type of image sensor (Digital Pixel Sensor) instead

We initially didn’t know anything about image sensors (digital cameras didn’t exist)

Had to rediscover many things

Didn’t know what DPS is good for

Industry became interested in image sensors

Formed Programmable Digital Camera project with significant industry funding

Found important application of DPS: High dynamic range imaging

Lesson 6. You cannot always plan research. It is difficult to predict next innovation

Lesson 7. University-industry collaboration is key element of successful applied research

Pixim: 2000--Present Helped my student David Yang start Pixim to commercialize DPS The process technology needed was not available We didn’t know what the “killer-app” would be Spent first couple of years co-developing technology with TSMC, but with no product defined: Hired more people than we needed. Many with no domain specific expertise Spent money too fast Finally, decided on video cameras for surveillance Some VCs gave up on the company, others stuck it out Pixim is fast becoming a leader in this market

Helped my student David Yang start Pixim to commercialize DPS

The process technology needed was not available

We didn’t know what the “killer-app” would be

Spent first couple of years co-developing technology with TSMC, but with no product defined:

Hired more people than we needed. Many with no domain specific expertise

Spent money too fast

Finally, decided on video cameras for surveillance

Some VCs gave up on the company, others stuck it out

Pixim is fast becoming a leader in this market

Lessons Learned: Pixim Lesson 8. Commercializing university research is tricky What is the “killer-App”? How long and how costly will it be to commercialize? Lesson 9. The road to success in a startup can be treacherous. Perseverance and believing in the opportunity are key to success Lesson 10. Having VCs who take long view can mean the difference between success and failure

Lesson 8. Commercializing university research is tricky

What is the “killer-App”?

How long and how costly will it be to commercialize?

Lesson 9. The road to success in a startup can be treacherous. Perseverance and believing in the opportunity are key to success

Lesson 10. Having VCs who take long view can mean the difference between success and failure

Summary Success in ICT is mostly about having the right human capital To notch engineers and researchers Entrepreneurs Experienced management Experienced marketing people Experienced VCs Successful role models This does not apply only to Silicon Valley

Success in ICT is mostly about having the right human capital

To notch engineers and researchers

Entrepreneurs

Experienced management

Experienced marketing people

Experienced VCs

Successful role models

This does not apply only to Silicon Valley

ICT in Developing Countries Taiwan, India, China, Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia, … have all succeeded in ICT by developing the right human capital Training large numbers of low cost skilled labor Developing first rate educational systems (e.g., IIT, IIM) Fostering entrepreneurial culture Leveraging expats expertise and connections to Silicon Valley and as role models Government played major role Education Planning Economic and legal environment Incentives Low cost capital

Taiwan, India, China, Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia, … have all succeeded in ICT by developing the right human capital

Training large numbers of low cost skilled labor

Developing first rate educational systems (e.g., IIT, IIM)

Fostering entrepreneurial culture

Leveraging expats expertise and connections to Silicon Valley and as role models

Government played major role

Education

Planning

Economic and legal environment

Incentives

Low cost capital

ICT in Al Madina Saudi Arabia does not currently have the human capital needed to play global role in ICT But it has several competitive advantages*: Low cost capital Low cost energy Largest economy in the region Strong petrochemical industry Leadership position in the Muslim world Large regional markets with large young population having growing disposable income How can these be leveraged in ICT? * Courtesy Dr. Ahmad Al Yamani

Saudi Arabia does not currently have the human capital needed to play global role in ICT

But it has several competitive advantages*:

Low cost capital

Low cost energy

Largest economy in the region

Strong petrochemical industry

Leadership position in the Muslim world

Large regional markets with large young population having growing disposable income

How can these be leveraged in ICT?

Some Thoughts Set BIG goal(s) “Be the World Leader in … in 30 Years” Short term: Choose areas that leverage low cost energy and capital, for example, data centers Longer term: Expand into ICT areas that leverage other strengths (petrochemical industry, large regional market, leadership in Muslim world), for example, ICT services But to succeed in the longer term, MUST invest in developing the right human capital: Emphasis should be on high school, undergraduate education Encourage and reward creativity and analytical thinking Encourage and reward entrepreneurship Government should also provide the right economic and legal environment for ICT This will take substantial vision, time, and investment, but it is the only proven road to success in ICT

Set BIG goal(s) “Be the World Leader in … in 30 Years”

Short term: Choose areas that leverage low cost energy and capital, for example, data centers

Longer term: Expand into ICT areas that leverage other strengths (petrochemical industry, large regional market, leadership in Muslim world), for example, ICT services

But to succeed in the longer term, MUST invest in developing the right human capital:

Emphasis should be on high school, undergraduate education

Encourage and reward creativity and analytical thinking

Encourage and reward entrepreneurship

Government should also provide the right economic and legal environment for ICT

This will take substantial vision, time, and investment, but it is the only proven road to success in ICT

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